Monday, June 24, 2024

What should be Fernando Alonso’s goal this year?

After returning from his hiatus to the Alpine team, it seemed like Fernando Alonso might be ready for retirement – but a move to Aston Martin might be the reinvigoration of a record-breaking career.

When it comes to the rest of the Formula One season, what can Alonso expect?

The Spanish driver had years of success and more than 365 starts in the Formula One World Championships, taking countless pole positions and podiums and winning the Championship 32 times.

After his sabbatical and concentrating on his various interests like poker gaming, the return of Alonso wasn’t really as exciting as he might have thought – but when the opportunity to transfer to Aston Martin came up in midseason last year (to replace Vettel), it was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.

Aston Martin in Formula One

Aston Martin, as a construction team, hasn’t really had it easy in Formula One, only returning to the race in 2021.

The luxury car manufacturer first made a foray into racing with the French Grand Prix back in 1922, but the cars were not up to performance standards, and they didn’t really get anywhere, and they soon went back to the drawing board.

It was 1959 when the Aston Martin DBR4 debuted at the BDRC International Trophy, a race at Silverstone that was run to Formula One rules – but that wasn’t a winning combination either.

Aston Martin officially bowed out of the world of F1 in 1960… until their triumphant return in the 2021 series, with Vettel and relative newcomer Lance Stroll at the helm.

fernando alonso

Action, Hungaroring, GP2311a, F1, GP, Hungary, Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23

Alonso and Aston Martin

The long career of Fernando Alonso is nothing short of awe-inspiring – at nearly 42, he is still putting up a good fight against drivers much younger – and in objectively better cars. 

Alonso is the real difference-maker when it comes to performance, too. Last season, Aston Martin came from the back of the pack to finish in 7th overall, and for much of 2023, Alonso has sat behind the two Red Bull drivers in the driver championship. 

The results for Alonso might not be championship material, but they are at least consistent, and with Red Bull so far ahead, consistency could be the key to a podium finish at the end of the season, if not an all-out win. 

Check out his placings below:

  • Bahrain: 3rd
  • Saudi Arabian: 3rd
  • Australian: 3rd
  • Azerbaijan: 4th
  • Miami: 3rd
  • Monaco: 2nd
  • Spanish: 6th
  • Canadian: 2nd
  • Austrian: 5th
  • British: 7th
  • Hungarian 9th

The difference maker here really must be Alonso – Aston Martin is up against the ‘best of the rest’ behind Red Bull. That means they are competing with the likes of Ferrari and Mercedes, who are well-established F1 production companies. 

This was demonstrated strongest when the upgrades to their AMR22 were unveiled at the Spanish Grand Prix last year. The undeniable ‘influence’ they had taken from their Red Bull competition earned the upgrade the nickname ‘Green Bull’ and had the pit crew and all the Red Bull staff drinking the green version of the energy drink for the whole race weekend.

Is the AMR23 Good Enough?

Although some upgrades are coming for the AM23, the current car was revealed back in February and one of the first things that the critics noted was the aggressive styling – all to create a better channel of airflow.

The car was developed by Dan Fallows (who came from Red Bull) and Eric Blandin (who came from Mercedes), and the subtle changes have meant that the AMR23 is far more competitive than its predecessor.

This is something that Alonso has commented on – the car is better at cornering than the straights, and it is his expert handling that makes it even better.

The more winding courses, with the most corners, are going to be the races that Alonso has much more of a chance of winning – so it will be interesting to see how he fares at races like Budapest and Singapore.

fernando alonso

Helmets, Portrait, TS-Live, Hungaroring, GP2311a, F1, GP, Hungary, Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin F1 Team

Is It Going to be a Win?

There are several naysayers who think that despite Alonso’s abilities as a driver, he won’t be winning with Aston Martin.

For a burgeoning construction team without decades of experience in Formula One, creating the right vehicle to beat the seemingly untouchable Red Bull team might be a step too far – and that would be a real shame.

It takes a special driver to be able to go up against better cars, driven by winning drivers and still getting that podium place (or close to it, at least).

Fernando Alonso has already stated that his long-term career plan is to stay with Aston Martin, and the team would be missing out on all his experience if they were to replace him – so his focus for this year is to get consistent podiums and wait for the corners to really let his car shine.

The post What should be Fernando Alonso’s goal this year? appeared first on Paddock Magazine.